Pretty special, indeed. The Knicks defeated the Bulls 128-120 in OT on the first leg of a back-to-back mini-series against Chicago. Both teams will meet again on Friday with New York (6th in the East) sitting at 15-13 and the lowly Bulls (11th) down at 11-16.
It marked the fifth win in a row by the New York Knicks, which are 7-7 at MSG and moved to an 8-6 record away from home.
Those words at the top, by the way, were the ones offered by Jalen Brunson after his miraculous recovery from a foot contusion suffered last Sunday playing Sacramento. That injury didn’t come close to stopping him from dumping 30 points on Chicago.
“I don’t want to give anyone the notion that I’m healthy, but I just didn’t want to take today off,” said Brunson. When you think about it, it truly makes sense to find Brunson playing for a Tom Thibodeau-led team. “If I’m able to walk and I’m able to play, I’ve got to bring it.”
Speaking about Brunson’s recovery and 30-point, seven-assist, two-rebound, one-steal night, Thibs said that his point guard, “...has been through so many different things. [He] has a strategy for everything,” before summing it all up by saying that the former Maverick “...just gets out there and gets it done.”
The Knicks needed five extra minutes to edge Chicago, mind you. When asked about his team surrendering a 14-point lead (built through the first half), Thibs just said, “Sometimes you have to win games in different ways.”
“The bottom line is just find a way to win.”
Julius Randle, arguably the best Knick hooping in Chicago on Wednesday—he put up 31 points, pulled down 13 boards, and dished out seven dimes—was given the chance to finish the game in regulation by running one of his classic isolations.
“Get to your spot, take your shot. Julius did that. It’s a good look on that side,” said Thibs of that awful play.
The worst of all, of course, was that Randle’s missed shot left 0.7 seconds on the clock. Good for Randle, Thibs, and the Knicks, Patrick Williams didn’t get to finish the lob attempt by the Bulls and the game went to overtime.
Thibs said that, on Wednesday, Randle “made so many good plays,” adding that the forward was “sacrificing for the team” by “reading that play (at the end regulation)” and “to put it on the line (with his missed fadeaway)”.
“There’s no stat for that,” concluded the coach.